• unlimited access with print and download
    $ 37 00
  • read full document, no print or download, expires after 72 hours
    $ 4 99
More info
Unlimited access including download and printing, plus availability for reading and annotating in your in your Udini library.
  • Access to this article in your Udini library for 72 hours from purchase.
  • The article will not be available for download or print.
  • Upgrade to the full version of this document at a reduced price.
  • Your trial access payment is credited when purchasing the full version.
Buy
Continue searching

Role conflict, role ambiguity, and self-efficacy of school social workers in K--12 public schools in Alabama

Dissertation
Author: Jendia Steele Grissett
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to examine the level and relationships of Alabama K-12 public school social workers' self-perceived role conflict, role ambiguity, and self-efficacy. The investigation also explored if the levels and relationships of school social workers' self-perceptions of these constructs varied based on age, years of social work experience, years of school social work experience, level of educational attainment, number of schools served by the school social work practitioner, frequency of school social work supervision, and number of professional development opportunities. A survey was sent to a population of 45 full-time K-12 public school social workers receiving State funds, with 41 (91%) of the surveys being returned. Descriptive statistics were utilized to explore the response distribution means and standard deviations. Cohen's D was used to determine practical significance among the key component constructs for the demographic variables. Pearson Product Moment Correlations were conducted to assess the relationships among the constructs for the demographic variables. The findings revealed practically significant differences for five of the seven demographic variables. The findings revealed that a positive relationship exists between role conflict and role ambiguity, whereas both constructs had a negative relationship with school social worker self-efficacy and with each of the five school social worker subscales. For each demographic variable, role conflict had a moderately strong or strong, negative relationship to the family-centered school social worker self-efficacy subscale.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................. ix TABLE OF CONTENTS ................................................................................................ ... vi CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................ 1

Purpose of the Study .......................................................................................................6

Statement of the Problem ................................................................................................6

Research Questions .........................................................................................................8

Significance of the Study ................................................................................................9

Assumptions ..................................................................................................................10

Delimitations .................................................................................................................10 Limitations .................................................................................................................... 11

Definition of Terms.......................................................................................................11

Methodology .................................................................................................................14

Organization of the Study .............................................................................................14 CHAPTER 2: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ........................................................16

School Social Work Practice ........................................................................................16

School Personnel Perceptions of School Social Workers ........................................22

Role Theory ..................................................................................................................23

Role Conflict ............................................................................................................24

Role Ambiguity ........................................................................................................34

Mediating Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity .........................................................36

Self-Efficacy .................................................................................................................40

vii

Sources of Self-Efficacy ...............................................................................................43

Mastery Experiences .....................................................................................................44

Modeling .......................................................................................................................44

Social Persuasion ..........................................................................................................45

Physiological and Affective States ...............................................................................46

Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, and Self-Efficacy Among School Social Workers ....46

Summary .......................................................................................................................48 CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY .................................................................................... 50

Population .....................................................................................................................50

Research Questions .......................................................................................................51 Instrumentation ................................ .............................................................................52

Data Analysis Schema ..................................................................................................55

Data Collection Procedures...........................................................................................56

Summary .......................................................................................................................57 CHAPTER 4: FINDINGS ................................................................................................ 58

Self-Perceived Levels of Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, School Social Worker

Self-Efficacy, School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Subscales .....................................60

Self-Perceived Levels of Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, School Social Worker

Self-Efficacy, and School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Subscales, Based upon

Demographics ...............................................................................................................72

The Relationships among Self-Perceived Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, School

Social Worker Self-Efficacy, and School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Subscales ......85

The Relationships among Self-Perceived Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, School

Social Worker Self-Efficacy, and School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Subscales,

Based upon Demographics ...........................................................................................85

Summary .....................................................................................................................103

viii

CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS, DISCUSSION, AND RECOMMENDATIONS ....... 105

Summary of Findings ..................................................................................................106

Conclusions .................................................................................................................117

Discussion ...................................................................................................................119

Recommendations for Practice ...................................................................................124

Recommendations for Future Studies .........................................................................126

REFERENCES ................................ ................................................................................128

APPENDIX A: Letter to Participants .............................................................................143

APPENDIX B: School Social Worker Survey Instrument of Role Conflict, Role

Ambiguity, and Self-Efficacy ................................................................ 144

APPENDIX C: Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, and School Social Worker Self- Efficacy Crosswalk ................................................................................ 146

ix

LIST OF TABLES

Table Page 1 Descriptive Statistics on Alabama K-12 Public School Social Workers’ Role Conflict Response Distribution ......................................................................61

2 Descriptive Statistics on Alabama K-12 Public School Social Workers’ Role Ambiguity Response Distribution ................................................................ ..63

3 Descriptive Statistics on Alabama K-12 Public School Social Workers’ S elf-Efficacy Response Distribution and Mean Based upon School-Directed Tasks Subscale ................................................................ .......................................65

4 Descriptive Statistics on Alabama K-12 Public School Social Workers’ Self-Efficacy Response Distribution and Mean Based upon Student-Directed

Tasks Subscale .......................................................................................................66

5 Descriptive Statistics on Alabama K-12 Public School Social Workers’ Self-Efficacy Response Distribution and Mean Based upon Family Centered Tasks Subscale ................................................................ .......................................67

6 Descriptive Statistics on Alabama K-12 Public School Social Workers’ Self-Efficacy Response Distribution and Mean Based upon Educator-Directed Tasks Subscale ................................................................ .......................................69

7 Descriptive Statistics on Alabama K-12 Public School Social Workers’ Self-Efficacy Response Distribution and Mean Based upon Staff- Development/Self-Management Tasks Subscale .................................................... 70

8 Descriptive Statistics on Alabama K-12, Public School Social Workers’ Mean

Self-Perceived School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Scores, by School Social Worker Subscale ................................................................ .....................................71

9 Inter-correlations of Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, and Self-Efficacy, Based upon the Number of Times Supervised per Month and the Number of Professional Development Activities Engaged in per Month ................................73

10 Descriptive Statistics on Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, School Social Worker Self-Efficacy, and School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Subscales Scores, Based upon Age......................................................................................................75

1 1 Descriptive Statistics on Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, School Social Worker Self-Efficacy, and School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Subscales Scores, Based

x

u pon Highest Degree Earned.................................................................................79

1 2 Descriptive Statistics on Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, School Social Worker Self-Efficacy, and School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Subscales Scores, Based upon Years of Experience as a Social Worker ............................................80

1 3 Descriptive Statistics on Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, School Social Worker Self-Efficacy, and School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Subscales Scores, Based upon Years of Experience as a School Social Worker ................................81

1 4 Descriptive Statistics on Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, School Social Worker Self-Efficacy, and School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Subscales Scores, Based upon the Number of Schools Served............................................................84

15 Inter-correlations of Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, School Social Worker Self-Efficacy, and School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Subscales .........................86

1 6 Inter-correlations of Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, School Social Worker Self-Efficacy, and School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Subscales, Based

upon Age ................................................................................................................87

17 Inter-correlations of Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, School Social Worker Self-Efficacy, and School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Subscales, Based upon Highest Degree Earned................................................................................. 91

18 Inter-correlations of Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, School Social Worker Self -Efficacy, and School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Subscales, Based upon Years of Experience as a Social Worker .......................................................95

19 Inter-correlations of Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, School Social Worker Self-Efficacy, and School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Subscales, Based upon Years of Experience as a School Social Worker ........................................... 98

2 0 Inter-correlations of Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, School Social Worker Self-Efficacy, and School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Subscales, Based u pon the Number of Schools Served ....................................................................101

94

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

To comprehend school social work within the organizational behavior of schools, it is imperative to understand systems theory, which has been used in social work education since the mid-1950s (Bowen, 2007). According to this theoretical perspective, a system is a complex, acclimatized organization that is continually generating structured patterns of interactions and actions (Goren, 2006; Senge, 1990). Today’s schools can be viewed through the lens of systems theory, as schools have distinct structural and behavioral dimensions that are influenced by the external environment (Bertalanffy, 1968; Katz & Kahn, 19 78). Within this context, organizations may be viewed as four sociotechnical subsystems that are highly independent of one another: (a) technological subsystems,

consisting of the work to be done by the organization; (b) structural subsystems, includ ing task grouping, rules, policies, authority systems, power bases, and job design; (c) subsystems of individuals, involving the people who are hired to perform the various tasks within the organization; and (d) emergent subsystems, which are part of the informal organization in which unwritten and unprogrammed interactions exist as they relate to norms, competition, and cooperation between groups (Leavitt, 1965; Nadler & Tushman, 1980).

Viewing the school as a complex organization supports the theoretical underpinning of social work (Costin, 1975; Garrett, 2006). The ecological framework of social work

2

94

practice is rooted in systems theory. The social worker, a subsystem of the individuals system (Leavitt, 1965; Nadler & Tushman, 1980), is concerned with the transitions among and between systems and the surrounding environment (Corbin, 2005; Geramin & Gitterman, 1996). The ecological framework, like systems theory, suggests that a change in one part of the system leads to a corresponding reaction in another system while attempting to maintain homeostasis, a steady state (White, 1974). The person- environment transactions are continually changing and reciprocal; change in one produces change in another (Garrett, 2006). Using the ecological framework, “School social workers target not only the psychosocial deficits of students, but also work with transactions between subsystems of students and teachers, home and school, teacher and administrators, and transactions with the external environment” (Early, 1992, p. 208). School social workers attend the person-in-environment: family, teacher, classroom, administrators, school, and community. Garrett contended that no other profession is as holistic as social work.

Despite their professional knowledge and involvement within schools since the 1900s, school social workers are not viewed as leaders within schools today. In 1975, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) conducted the first comprehensive study of school social workers. This research revealed “confusion about the definition, role, and requirements of a school social worker” (Torres, 1996, p. 9). The role of the social worker is often misunderstood and ambiguous at any given time (Allen-Meares, 1994; Costin, 1975; Meares, 1977; Weiner, 2005). To assist school social workers to clarify their roles, national organizations such as NASW and the School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) have outlined

3

94

roles of the school social worker. NASW (2002) identified three areas of practice standards: (a) standards of competence and professional practice, (b) standards of professional preparation and development, and (c) standards for administrative structure and support. Both NASW and SSWAA recognize the ecological perspective and support the 1988 Educational Testing Services (ETS) job analysis of knowledge skills and abilities (KSAs) and Job Dimensions (JDs). The listing of KSAs and JDs are provided: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Areas Social Work Ethics Program Development and Management Skills Social Work Modalities and Procedures Theories of Human Behavior and Development Models of Social Work Practice Multidisciplinary Activities Characteristics of Pupil Populations Public-Education Legislation, Case Law, and Due Process

Job Dimensions Relationship and Services to Children and Families Relationship and Services to Teachers and School Staff Services to Other School Personnel Administrative and Professional Tasks Interagency Collaboration, Prevention, and Advocacy

Although at the national level, roles are being defined for the school social worker, the state departments of education are lagging behind. School social workers are employed by 43 states; 31 of these states require certification at the state level. There are no consistent educational requirements for school social workers; many states employ both baccalaureate and master-degreed social workers (Boyd, 2003). There is no consistent macro-level employment of school social workers. Some states employ no school social

4

94

workers, whereas other states employ up to 2,000 each. School social workers lag behind other school-based mental health professionals (counselors and school psychologists) in certification, educational requirements, and expectations, as all 50 states require certification for both school counselors and school psychologists (Altshuler, 2006).

Garrett and Baretta-Herman (1995) found that only 10% of school social workers had an accurate job description. This finding may be reflective of Alabama. The Alabama Department of Education does not regulate school social work positions and does not prescribe a job description to practicing school social workers. Therefore, each school social worker is employed at the discretion of the district in which he or she is employed. Each district’s school social workers have developed their job descriptions independently or in collaboration with the district’s administration. Consequently, the lack of consistent job descriptions exacerbates the role ambiguity of the school social workers, leaving them vulnerable to unclear standards and expectations (Goren, 2006 ). Role ambiguity is the lack of information available to a given organizational position (Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, & Rosenthal, 1964), where the role is not clearly articulated in terms of responsibilities and expected performance evaluations (Coll & Freeman, 1997; Culbreth, Scarborough, Banks-Johnson, & Solomon, 2005; Rizzo, House, & Litzerman, 1970; Van Sell, Brief, & Schuler, 1981). In addition to role ambiguity, role conflict is inherent to school social work practice, as the school social worker operates within a host setting (an organization whose mission is defined by someone other than a social worker) that often does not understand the role, skills, and knowledge of a social worker (Dane & Simon, 1991). “Role conflict occurs when there is incompatibility between the expected behaviors perceived by the focal

5

94

person and those received by the role senders” (Katz & Kahn, 1978, p. 156). Role conflict also exists when there are incompatible expectations such that compliance with one expectation makes it difficult or impossible to effectively comply with other expectations and when a task has the potential to belong to various disciplines (Kahn et al., 1964; Rizzo et al., 1970). Lloyd, King, and Chenoweth (2002) indicated a clear distinction between the way social wo rkers view their roles and how other professional groups perceive their roles. Most school social workers are being supervised by professionals (school administrators) outside their discipline. Tropman, Woolley, Zhu, and Smith (2006) identified four key areas where differences in disciplines among supervisors and supervisees may cause potential conflict: (a) cultural mind-set; (b) performance of common tasks of supervision; (c) feedback, corrective information, and dealing with difficult people; and (d) general differences such as gender and temperament. Tower (2000) reported that school administrators who are unfamiliar with school social workers tend to have negative attitudes towards them. Services that are not understood are often the target for elimination (Garrett, 2006); as an organization shifts, the organizational dynamics may cause social work roles to be surrendered to other professionals within the organization (Dane & Simon, 1991). Acknowledging that role conflict and role ambiguity exist within the school social work profession, the question of school social workers’ self-efficacy arises. Self-efficacy is defined as a person’s belief in his or her ability to perform specific tasks (Bandura, 1986; Campbell & Hackett, 1986; Cervone & Peake, 1986; Eden & Kinnar, 1991; Eden & Zuk, 1995; Gist & Mitchell, 1992; Saks, 1994; Wood & Locke, 1987). Self-efficacy

6

94

has been shown to predict work performance. Self-efficacy beliefs help determine how much effort one will spend on an activity, how long one will persevere in confronting obstacles, and resiliency in adverse situations. The higher self-efficacy reported on a task, the greater the effort, persistence, and resilience. The lower the self-efficacy on a task, the greater the belief that the task is more difficult than it appears, resulting in stress, depression, and poor work performance (Bandura, 1988; Gist & Mitchell, 1992; Pajares, 1996).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to examine the levels and relationships among the separate constructs of role conflict, role ambiguity, and self-efficacy among K-12 public school social workers in Alabama. This investigation explored the school social workers’ self-perceptions of, role conflict, role ambiguity and self-efficacy. The investigation also explored if the school social workers’ self-perceptions vary based on age, years of social work experience, years of school social work experience, level of educational attainment, number of schools served by the school social work practitioner, frequency of school social work supervision, and number of professional development opportunities. Statement of the Problem

School social workers in Alabama are increasing their presence in Alabama public schools. In 1996, Torres reported only 11 school social workers in Alabama. In 2006 , the State Department of Education STI ™ data indicated that there are 74 school social workers within Alabama. However, when the STI ™ data were cross-referenced with the Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners ( www.abswe.state.al.us ) data base, there were only 45 licensed social workers identified as p racticing in the school systems.

7

94

Practicing school social workers only represent approximately 0.9% of Alabama’s 4,916 licensed social workers (Cowart , 2008).

Furthermore, Alabama lacks structured education for school social workers. There are 1 3 university programs in Social Work throughout the State of Alabama. Of these 13 programs in Social Work, 2 offer a Masters Degree in Social Work: The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa and Alabama A&M University. None of the programs offers a track specifically designed for school social work. The University of Alabama offers a school social work course; however, it is offered as an elective course. With the increasing presence of school social workers, greater efforts need to be made to understand their roles and function within the school system. To date, only one empirical study has been conducted on the national level to evaluate role conflict, role ambiguity, and self-efficacy of school social workers (Weiner, 2005). Weiner’s study (2005) consisted of a national sample in which all participants were master-degreed

social workers. In contrast, the State of Alabama mandated the licensure of both b achelor-degreed and master-degreed social workers. Therefore, the Alabama State Department of Education employs both levels. Although the 2006 STI™ revealed that the school social worker population in Alabama is small (N = 45), there are no data available specifically addressing these constructs in Alabama. This investigation addresses this gap in the knowledge base.

8

94

Research Questions This study examined the following research questions: 1. What are the levels of Alabama K-12 public school social workers’ self- perceived role ambiguity, role conflict, school social worker self-efficacy, and school social worker self-efficacy subscales? 2. Do the levels of Alabama K-12 public school social workers’ self-perceived role ambiguity, role conflict, school social worker self-efficacy, and school social worker self-efficacy subscales vary by age, years of social work experience, years of school social work experience, highest degree earned, number of schools served by the school social work practitioner, frequency of school social work supervision, and number of professional development opportunities? 3. To what extent do relationships exist among Alabama K-12 public school social workers’ self-perceived role ambiguity, role conflict, school social worker self-efficacy, and school social worker self-efficacy subscales? 4. To what extent do the relationships among Alabama K-12 public school social workers’ self-perceived role ambiguity, role conflict, school social worker self -efficacy, and school social worker self-efficacy subscales vary by age, years of social work experience, years of school social work experience, highest degree earned, number of schools served by the school social work practitioner, frequency of school social work supervision, and number of professional development opportunities?

9

94

Significance of the Study Current school social work literature reveals the struggle for professional recognition and status. School social workers are called to define their own job domains (Lloyd et. al., 2002). Allen-Meares (1990) urged school social workers to “move from a reactive posture to a proactive stance and call attention of administrators to the array of services and knowledge these practitioners bring to schools” (p. 220). At the same time, school social workers are being urged to support the school system’s goals and to seek compatibility between those goals and those of the social work profession (Lee, 1983).

Through the investigation into the constructs of role ambiguity, role conflict, and self- efficacy, careful identification of factors leading to enhanced work performance of school social workers is explored. The increased understanding of these constructs can expand the system’s input-transformation-output-cycle, thus creating an open school climate that will produce a healthy school (Hoy & Forsyth, 198 6; Miles, 1969) that focuses on factors that contribute to the development and impediment of positive personnel interactions within the organization. The implication of fostering an open climate will ultimately benefit student outcomes, as healthy schools are associated with high-achieving schools (Hoy & Forsyth, 1986; Hoy & Woolfolk, 199 3).

The investigation results may benefit the school social worker directly through the identification of specialized training needs, additional funding, and statewide coordination of professional development for school social workers. This knowledge may also assist school social workers in integrating and fulfilling their leadership roles while advancing the mission of their school systems.

10

94

Next, the findings will potentially benefit school administrators and the Alabama Department of Education. Through the analysis of role ambiguity, role conflict, and self- efficacy, these policy makers can prioritize roles and tasks of school social workers to meet the needs of Alabama school districts. State administrators will also be able to utilize the investigation as a building block in the development of a statewide job description for school social workers that identifies clear goals and expected outcomes. As school leaders better recognize the expected school social work outcomes, they can link those outcomes to the district’s and school’s missions and goals. In addition, as state legislators and local school boards make decisions regarding public education, they may become enlightened regarding the role of school social workers within school systems. This study can assist these stakeholders in reaching the goals and challenges of NCLB Act of 2001. Assumptions

This study attempted to ascertain a portrait of Alabama school social workers’ self- perception of role ambiguity, role conflict, and self-efficacy. The researcher assumed that school social workers would agree to participate and that the respondents would complete the survey instruments accurately and in a trustworthy manner. The researcher assumed

that the respondents depended upon their own perceptions and understandings of the terms and variables presented. Delimitations

The following delimitations were set for this study. Only those individuals identified by the Alabama State Department of Education 2006 STI ™ data report as a school social worker who received State and federal

11

94

funds were contacted to participate in this study. Only data collected in the time frame of this study were considered in the analysis phase. Only practicing school social workers within Alabama K – 12 public schools were contacted to participate in this study. Limitations

There are inherent limitations to this study. Some of the limitations are as follows: The findings can only be generalized to Alabama’s K- 12 public school systems. The participant’s home address was obtained from the Alabama Board of Social Work Examiners website (www.abse.state.al.us). Some of the school social workers identified may have moved or may no longer be employed in schools. Definition of Terms

The following definitions from the literature appear below: Licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW) is the basic level of license in Alabama.

The LBSW must have graduated from an accredited school of social work and must

have passed an examination prescribed by the Alabama Board of Social Work

Examiners. The LBSW must be able to perform duties that include social broker,

enabler, counselor, case manager educator, client advocate, and mediator. The LBSW

must be under the supervision of a licensed graduate social worker or licensed

certified social worker a minimum of two years. If the LBSW remains in the same

type of social work practice setting and remains licensed, supervision of the LBSW

may cease after two years. The LBSW must not diagnose, prescribe medications, nor

interpret psychological testing (Alabama Board of Social Work Examiners, 1998).

12

94

Licensed certified social workers (LCSW) must have received a master of social

work or doctor of social work degree from an accredited school of social work.

The LCSW must have received two years of postgraduate continuing supervision

provided by an LCSW prior to the LCSW examination. The social worker

must pass the examination prescribed by the Alabama State Board of Social

Work Examiners. The LCSW may participate in the following roles identified

by the Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners: social casework,

clinical social work, community organization, social work research, and social

work administration. An LCSW may not diagnose, prescribe medications, nor

interpret psychological testing (Alabama State Board of Social Examiners,

1998). Licensed graduate social workers (LGSW) must have received a master of social work or doctor of social work degree from an accredited school of social

work. The social worker must pass an examination prescribed by the Alabama

State Board of Social Work Examiners. The LGSW may: evaluate

psychological functioning; provide preventative and treatment services

pertaining to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities;

engage client systems; develop and employ interventions to targeted behaviors;

promote positive growth and development; and interpret social evaluations in the

problem-solving process. The LGSW may not diagnose, prescribe medications,

nor interpret psychological testing (Alabama State Board of Social Work

Examiners, 1998). Role ambiguity is the lack of information available for a given organizational

13

94

position (Kahn et al., 1964). The role is not clearly articulated in terms of

responsibilities and expected performance evaluations (Coll & Freeman, 1997;

Culbreth et al., 2005; Rizzo et al., 1970; Van Sell et al., 1981). Role conflict is the existence of incompatible expectations such that compliance

with one expectation makes it difficult or impossible to effectively comply

with other expectations (Kahn et al., 1964; Rizzo et al., 1970). School social worker identifies social workers who are employed by a

school system. The position title, school social worker, identifies the

background, profession, and the educational role of the social worker (NASW,

2002). Self-efficacy is a term which refers to an individual’s belief in his or her capability to perform a specific task (Bandura, 1977, 1978; Gist, 1987; Pajares,

1996). Self-perception identifies an individual’s knowledge of his or her own attitudes,

emotions, and internal states by inferring them through the individual’s own

behavior and circumstances in which they occur (Bem, 1972). Social work practice refers to two types of social work practice: direct and

indirect. Direct practice includes the delivery of services to individuals,

families, groups, and communities. Indirect practice refers to the study and

research of human behavior. In addition, the teaching of social work by an

individual employed in social work education and presenting one’s self as a

social worker is considered social work practice (The Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners, 1998).

14

94

Supervision is the guidance of professional application of social work practice as

defined by law. The supervisor and supervisee relationship is designed to

promote responsibility, competency, and accountability and to teach the skills

and techniques of social work practice (The Alabama State Board of Social

Work Examiners, 1998). Methodology

This descriptive, population study of school social workers within Alabama utilized quantitative forms of data collection. An existing School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Scale (Weiner, 2005) and Role Perception Questionnaire (Rizzo et al., 1970) measuring role conflict and role ambiguity were administered. Using Role Perception Questionnaire scores and the School Social Worker Self-Efficacy Scale scores, Alabama school social workers’ self -perceptions were analyzed to determine their levels of role ambiguity, role conflict, and self-efficacy, as well as to determine if a relationship exists among these constructs. In addition, variance of the constructs was analyzed based on the school social workers’ age, years-of- social-work-experience, years-of-school-social-work-experience, highest degree earned, number of schools served by the school social work practitioner, frequency of school social work supervision, and number of professional development opportunities.

Organization of the Study

This study is divided into five chapters. The first chapter has presented and stated the problem with school social work in Alabama’s K – 12 public schools. The background of the study and the purpose of the study identified the rationale for completing a study on role ambiguity, role conflict, and self-efficacy among school social workers in Alabama’s

15

94

K- 12 public schools. The research questions, along with the methodology, were presented. The significance of study for stakeholders was outlined. The limitations and delimitations of the study were acknowledged.

Chapter 2 of the study focused on current literature regarding school social workers. The main areas of focus presented are (a) school social work history, (b) roles of school social workers, (c) role theory, and (d) self-efficacy.

Chapter 3 of this study outlined the methodology for this study. The research questions were re-introduced, along with the study design. This section assisted in providing an overview of how the questions were to be answered and who provided the data. Data collection procedures and instrumentation were also described.

Full document contains 159 pages
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the level and relationships of Alabama K-12 public school social workers' self-perceived role conflict, role ambiguity, and self-efficacy. The investigation also explored if the levels and relationships of school social workers' self-perceptions of these constructs varied based on age, years of social work experience, years of school social work experience, level of educational attainment, number of schools served by the school social work practitioner, frequency of school social work supervision, and number of professional development opportunities. A survey was sent to a population of 45 full-time K-12 public school social workers receiving State funds, with 41 (91%) of the surveys being returned. Descriptive statistics were utilized to explore the response distribution means and standard deviations. Cohen's D was used to determine practical significance among the key component constructs for the demographic variables. Pearson Product Moment Correlations were conducted to assess the relationships among the constructs for the demographic variables. The findings revealed practically significant differences for five of the seven demographic variables. The findings revealed that a positive relationship exists between role conflict and role ambiguity, whereas both constructs had a negative relationship with school social worker self-efficacy and with each of the five school social worker subscales. For each demographic variable, role conflict had a moderately strong or strong, negative relationship to the family-centered school social worker self-efficacy subscale.